Respondent or information from other source:
Claire Judd, ROH Collections Administrator
Aims, policies, purpose/impetus for project:
1) Based around the redevelopment of the building in 1997-9, this project aimed to capture the impressions and opinions of a wide variety of people involved in the Royal Opera House development project. This included audiences and staff before the closure, specialist contractors working on the building site, and audiences and staff at the venues where The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera appeared during the closure. The project continued after the theatre re-opened in December 1999.
2) Funded by The Friends of Covent Garden, this project recorded the memories of singers, conductors, orchestral musicians, members of the Royal Opera Chorus, language coaches, directors, and music staff who have worked on productions of Verdi operas at the Royal Opera House since 1946.
3) This project is collecting reminiscences from former staff and artists who worked at the Royal Opera House from the 1930s onwards. The aim is to record the histories that are often forgotten or ignored, so while we are interviewing singers and dancers, the main focus is on stage and production staff, members of the orchestra and administration staff.
Dates: 1) 1997 - 2000; 2) 2001; 3) 2006 - ongoing
Key individuals and roles involved:
1) Managed by Francesca Franchi (Head of ROH Collections). A combination of 5 ROH staff and volunteers undertook interviews, and 3 volunteers prepared the summaries
2) Managed by Francesca Franchi and interviews and summaries undertaken by one interviewee - Jon Tolansky
3) I manage the project and15 volunteers have so far been involved in conducting interviews and preparing summaries
Paid or voluntary, training in oral history:
1) ROH staff and volunteers all received British Library interview training
2) Paid interviewer (radio interviewer)
3) All interviewees are volunteers, and receive British Library interview training before undertaking any interviews. They also periodically undertake in-House training
Project funded by:
1) Part of ROH Collections budget
2) Funded by The Friends of Covent Garden
3) Part of ROH Collections budget
Management of project: All projects managed by ROH Collections
Format of interviews:
1 & 2) Audio - cassette (Marantz CP430)
3) Audio - First 10 interviews recorded on Marantz CP430 (cassette), all subsequent interviews recorded on solid state recorder (Marantz PMD 660)
How interviewees are selected and located:
1) Interviewees were selected to cover as broad a range of subject areas of the development as possible, including administration, building work, audience and performer experience, both at the ROH and while companies on tour. Located through ROH contacts.
2) Interviewees were selected to cover a range of musical involvement (i.e. not only performers but musical support staff) and as wide a time range as possible. Located via ROH and the interviewer's contacts (Jon Tolansky is a former member of the Orchestra of the ROH).
3) Initially interviewees were approached at an over 60's reunion for former staff members. People who agreed to take part gave us their contact details and we contacted them again at a later date to arrange interviews (there are still lots of people left to interview). We have also been given the names of other former staff by people that we have interviewed, and so we also approach them about taking part.
Interview running time:
1) Average one hour (one cassette's worth).
2) Average one hour (one cassette's worth of recording).
3) It varies enormously - from about 40 minutes to ten hours (spread out over about 7 interview sessions).
Copyright in interviews. Assignment rights?:
ROH Collections. All interviewees are asked to sign a clearance form after undertaking the interview.
Location of interview copies. Accessibility to public/format:
Master copies are held in off site storage, while listening copies(cassettes and CDs) are stored in the ROH Collections office and at an off site store. Digital copies of the Living History Project are also stored on the computer system. Listening copies are to be made available to the public (at ROH and at the British Library), and summaries will shortly be available for the Living History.
Collection contact details/website:
Project at Royal Opera House Collections Online. Summaries for the other two projects will be available on the website in the future.
Interview transcripts/lists of topics or other content indexes:
There are summaries for most of the interviews in the Verdi and Development projects. Volunteers are in the process of compiling summaries for the Living History Project interviews.
All the interviews will be catalogued into our archive database (Adlib)
Future plans for project/interviews?:
1 & 2 were finite and will not be added to
3. We are also planning to extend the project to include interviewing members of staff who have worked at ROH for 25 years or more and are still working here.
We also plan to use excerpts from interviews from each project in future exhibitions and on the ROH Collections website
Materials used for publications, exhibitions, conferences, radio/TV programmes or performances etc or future plans for this?:
1. Development project interviews were used in two articles in About the House, the magazine of The Friends of Covent Garden
2. Selected Verdi Centenary project interviews have been used in radio programmes
3. Not yet, but we would like to include excerpts in future exhibitions
Project website: Royal Opera House Collections Online
List on a joint (possibly STR) website: Yes
Join listserv/emailing list/forum: Yes
ROH Collections a/v Collection includes recordings of public events, such as Lunch & Listen, In Focus, organised by The Friends of Covent Garden & Education Departments. Listening copies are available at ROH Collections, although there are copyright issues.
List of interviewees provided: Yes
announcement of closure
announcement of closure
announcement of closure
in staff restaurant
|2||(2)||Sir Charles Mackerras||08.02.2001|
|15||(2)||Sir John Tooley||27.04.2001|
|21||Sir Colin Davis||20.05.2001|
|24||Dame Joan Sutherland||11.06.2001|
|25||(2)||Sir Edward Downes||03.07.2001|
|37||Sir Richard Eyre||19.12.2001|
|1. Alastair Davidson||Janette Harris||15/11/06||3|
|2. Gertrud Stelzel||Judy Mattei||20/11/06||3|
|3. Anthony Tunstall||Mavis Robinson||21/11/06||2|
|4. Peter Mattei||Keith Richards||24/11/06||3|
|5. Valerie West||Anne Sinstadt||27/11/06||2|
|6. Jeannette Sinclair||Pat Taylor||29/12/06||3|
|7. Gilbert Vernon||Barry Davies||28/2/07||3|
|8. George Hallam||Janette Harris||14/5/07||2|
|9. Gary Grant||Barry Davies||15/5/07||3|
|10. Clifford Starr||Anne Sinstadt||16/05/2007 14/06/2007||6|
|11. Anne Finley||Mavis Robinson||23/05/2007|
|12. Victor Godfrey||Keith Richards||12/6/07||1|
|13. Ron Freeman||Anne Sinstadt||24/07/2007|
|14. Ruth Gayfer||Maggie Smith||3/9/07||8|
|15. Wendy Robinson||Ursula Steiger||5/9/07||1|
|16. Michael Hogan||Maggie Smith||12/9/07||1|
|17. Joan Yudkin||Rosalind Erskine||17/9/07||1|
|18. Janet Chivers and Pat Coppel||Rosalind Erskine||17/9/07||1|
|19. John Constable||Janette Harris||24/09/2007 |
|20. John and Wendy Bacon||Rosalind Erskine||25/9/07||1|
|21. Brian Groombridge||Keith Richards||1/10/07||1|
|22. Leo Kersley||Barry Davies||3/10/07||1|
|23. Barry Castle||Jo Pestel||29/10/07||1|
|24. Michael Johnson||Francesca Franchi||7/11/07||2|
|25. Anne Wyburd||Jo Pestel||21/11/07||1|
|26. Jennifer Thorn||Ann Brumfit||5/12/07||1|
|27. Patricia Arnold||Pat Taylor||31/12/07||1|
|28. John Healey||Katherine Thompson||11/01/2007|
|29. Keith Grant||Mavis Robinson||21/12/2008|
|30. Dame Beryl Grey||Keith Richards||22/1/08||1|
|31. Jane Nicholas||Janett Harris||20/2/08||1|
|32. Barbara Booroff||Keith Richards||28/3/08||1|
|33. Jane Leigh-Breese||Ursula Steiger||2/4/08||1|
|34. Cliff Corbett||Ann Brumfit||15/4/08||2|
|35. Alex Paul||Keith Richards||22/4/08||1|
|36.Alan Carter||Barry Davies||24/4/08||1|
|37. Judith Eagle||Janette Harris||24/4/08||1|
|38. Patrick Strevens||Barry Davies||28/5/08||1|
|39. John Dobson||Keith Richards||19/06/2008|
|40. Yvonne Minton||Janette Harris||5/9/08||1|
|41. John Woolf||Mavis Robinson||16/9/08||1|
|42. Dame Antointette Sibley||Pat Taylor||22/9/08||1|
|43. Pierro Faggioni||Francesca Franchi||3/10/08||1|
|44. Daniel Hussey||Jo Pestel||22/10/08||3|
|45. Michael Brown||Barry Davies||23/10/08||1|
|46. David Rees||Jo Pestel||23/10/2008|
|47. Ted Pursey||Stephen Martin||10/11/2008|
|48. James Gibson||Rosalind Erskine||10/11/2008|
|49. Richard Gregson||Mavis Robinson||12/11/2008|
|50. Philip Gammon||Ann Brumfit||13/11/08||1|
|51. Josephine Veasey||Janette Harris||26/11/08||2|
|52. Prunella Sedgwick||Ann Brumfit||6/1/09||1|
Oral History Survey Pages
Index of Projects
21st April 2009